Cosmo Talks Costume Design with Drake, Armstrong

LOS ANGELESCosmopolitan magazine, for which 2014 has been a watershed year in terms of its embrace of porn—having published infographics, sex toy recommendations and advice on fitness from Spiegler Girls, to name but a few—today posted to its site yet another feature on the adult entertainment industry. This time the focus is design, and the interview and accompanying photos address one of the industry's only true power couples, Jessica Drake and Brad Armstrong, who "don't just produce, write, direct, and star in adult films for Wicked Pictures, they also design the costumes."

Interested in the angle, "'s Style Editor, Charles Manning, spoke on the phone with them about what it's like designing costumes for films where actors spend most of their time more or less naked."

Along with the interview, the feature includes photos and original drawings of some of the couple's designs, including for the movies Fuck and Underworld.

If anything, the interview reveals both the challenges that face designers of adult movies and also the passion they bring to address those challenges. The following are a few of the questions and answers, but lovers of porn, design and basic moviemaking should check out the interview for a rarely discussed perspective on how adult pictures get made.

What kind of budget are you guys working with?
Smaller movies can be anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 and the bigger ones, maybe around $5,000.

Is staining an issue?
For the most part, the clothes are off by the time there’s any staining going on, so we don’t have any Bill Clinton moments, Monica Lewinsky moments, depending on how you’re looking at it. 

How to you plan your costumes?
I love Pinterest. Occasionally, for things I wear on the red carpet, I make a vision board. I make it a private board though, because I don’t want people scooping me.

What designers inspire you?
I am not so much a designer guy. I am more of a concept guy.
Jessica: I like Alexander McQueen, but I don’t really follow any designers.

What’s your favorite porn genre for costuming?
Sci-fi. It’s always futuristic, but sometimes it’s high-tech and crisp, and other times it’s post-apocalyptic.
Jessica: I like fantasy a lot. 

What movie do you think shows your best work as a costumer?
Curse Eternal or Eternity
Brad: I’ve got to go with her with Eternity. It was a period piece. But some of the most extravagant costumes we made were for Fuck. It was kind of a history of sex, so it went from barbarians, to period old English, to sci-fi, and some of the pieces were really cool. We also did one of [the Indian goddess] Shiva, with all the arms. That was tricky.

Do the actors who work with you weigh in on the costumes or refuse to wear something?
Not really. If they think they look fat or something, I just kind of talk them off the ledge and say “Trust me,” and usually it works out. I never had anybody go, “Oh my god! You made me look horrible!"

Image: Drawings and costumes for Fuck, left, and Underworld.